Waking Up to a Democratic Win on the Anniversary of Trump's Win

Well. That election was something! The Democrats had a big night: Ralph Northam won the governorship of Virginia, where 14 state seats also flipped from red to blue, and Justin Fairfax was elected as lieutenant governor, the first Black lieutenant governor in the state's history and only the second Black person to win statewide in Virginia.

In New Jersey, Phil Murphy was elected to succeed Chris Christie (who wasn't running for reelection), and Sheila Oliver was elected the first Black woman to serve as its lieutenant governor. Oliver continues a history-making streak, as she was also the first Black woman elected as Assembly Speaker, which made her only the second Black female speaker in U.S. history. She said last night of her victory: "This may not be the first glass ceiling I have broken, but it is certainly the highest. And I hope somewhere in this great state of New Jersey, a young girl of color is watching tonight and realizing that she does not have a limit to how high she can go."

Two trans women were elected last night: Andrea Jenkins was elected to the Minneapolis City Council and Danica Roem was elected to Virginia's House of Delegates. (Although it was widely reported that one or both were firsts last night, the first out trans person elected to public office in the United States was Althea Garrison in 1992.)

Roem was running against (and unseated) Bob Marshall, the Republican who introduced Virginia's anti-trans "bathroom bill." He repeatedly attacked her in the ugliest ways during the campaign, and, even in victory, she maintained her decency and integrity.

One trans man was elected last night, too: Tyler Titus won a seat on the school board in Erie, Pennsylvania.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg of numerous historic wins last night: Vi Lyles is the first Black woman to be elected Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina; Yvonne Spicer, a Black woman, was elected the first mayor of the new city of Framingham, Massachusetts; Joyce Craig is the first woman to be elected Mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire, in its 266-year history; Ravinder Bhalla was elected Mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, making him the first Sikh American to be elected mayor of the city; Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala became the first Latinas elected to Virginia's House of Delegates, and both defeated Republican incumbents to do it; Kathy Tran, who came as an infant to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam, became the first Asian American woman elected to Virginia's House of Delegates; Jenny Durkan was elected Seattle's first out lesbian mayor and its first female mayor since 1928; Melvin Carter was elected in Minnesota as St. Paul's first Black mayor; Janet Diaz was elected in Pennsylvania as the first Latina member of Lancaster's city council; and there are yet more history making winners being compiled by Philip Lewis and Willa Frej at the Huffington Post!

This is the future of the Democratic Party. And I hope any self-identified progressive who has ever asserted that "identity politics don't matter," or "identity politics are a distraction," or any variation thereof, takes a long look at the Democratic candidates who won last night, all over the nation, and reconsider their patently mistaken stance.

Relatedly, very few people have connected the blow-out in Virginia to the events in Charlottesville just ~90 days ago, but I believe that had to have made a difference.

That message won't be lost on Republicans. Trust that.

Which is why I'm I am having a strange combination of feelings today. I'm feeling relieved (even more than happy) about the results last night, feeling crappy about the fact that today is the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's win, and feeling worried that the blowback to the results last night will be an acceleration of the takeover that happened last year on this day, to ensure that what happened last night can't happen again.

Mike Pence and Kris Kobach are still working hard to disenfranchise voters across the nation, under the banner of Trump's "Commission on Election Integrity." What we absolutely cannot do is luxuriate in overconfidence. We cannot take for granted that we'll see the same result in 2018. We must fight every effort to disenfranchise voters for the next year. And forever thereafter.

Because here is what I know: The Republicans will respond to this defeat by doubling down on their voter suppression efforts. And Trump is currently stacking the courts as quickly as possible with judges who will uphold such efforts.

If we sit on our laurels, confident we'll destroy in 2018, what will happen is that we won't. Republicans will exploit our inattention for everything it's worth. So: Pay attention. And listen to people who sound the alarm on voter suppression efforts.

And keep your eyes on cases like this:

The road to 2018 begins now. Clink your glass, fill your lungs with air, and get ready to get back to work.

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